Local News/ 28 November 2019, 15:45pm/ Sompane Molefi & Lebona Lekoena
Salga logo: image supplied
Bloemfontein: South African Local Government Association (SALGA) in partnership with Xhariep District Municipality convened the 4th Karoo STR Conference under the theme Institutional Arrangements and Deepening Partnerships for Effective Economic Development.
The Conference was held at Forever Resort, Gariep Dam, began on Wednesday 27th November and ended on Thursday 28th November 2019.
It mainly dealt with the Proclamation of the Karoo Region as outlined in the Spatial Planning and Land Use Management Act, Development of Regional Spatial Development Framework and Discuss the institutionalisation of the Karoo STR Programme in municipalities.
According to SALGA the present progress in implementing the outcomes of the 2018 Conference Declaration;
“Strengthen resource mobilisation, including support from private, academic, civil society, non-governmental and community-based organisations within the Karoo region; Foster investment promotion, management and retention; Enhance capacity building support to municipalities in the region; and Encourage cooperation and knowledge sharing amongst municipalities in the Karoo.”
Amongst the people who attended this conference were Mayors and relevant portfolio councillors, Municipal Managers and Senior Municipal Officials, National Government, Provincial Government, Representatives from funding institutions & development agencies; Business sector representatives, Academic Institutions, SMME institutional representatives (Women, Youth, Disabled and vulnerable groups), Private sector representatives and other non-governmental organisations.
Both Premiers of the Free State Sisi Ntombela and the Nothern Cape Zamani Saul, SALGA President, Cllr Thembi Nkadimeng, the Minister of Agriculture, Land Reform and Rural Development, Thokozile Didiza, Minister of Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs, Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma, Minister of Public Works and Infrastructure, Patricia De Lille, European Union Representatives were amongst the guests.
As part of the Small Town Regeneration Programme (STR), SALGA successfully convened the inaugural national conference on small towns on 23-24 October 2015 in Mangaung,Free State. During the conference, municipalities were encouraged to prioritise small town regenerations strategies and to organise themselves into functional regional partnerships to exploit economic growth and revitalisation opportunities.
The Central Karoo District Municipalityin the Western Cape took this call to action and requested SALGA’s support in facilitating a regional conference for the Karoo Region, which took place from 7-8 April 2016 in Beaufort West. The Conference was aimed at placing greater spotlight on Karoo small towns through identifying common approaches that would place small towns on a new growth trajectory that transcends municipal and provincial boundaries.
“The Conference then mandated SALGA together with its stakeholders to arrange a follow up conference within a year to consolidate and take forward the ideas and proposals deliberated on. This gave birth to the Karoo Region STR Programme.
The 2nd Karoo Region STR Conference was then held on 10-11 July 2017 in Emthanjeni Local Municipalityin the Northern Cape, and brought together Karoo based municipalities together with stakeholders from various institutions and provincial and national government departments. And, the conference was held in Dr Beyers Local Municipalityin the Eastern Cape on 09-10 October 2018 under the theme Small Towns New Futures.”
Currently the Karoo region is faced with the shortage of water as its mostly a dessert but leaders pledged to priorities the building of water reservoirs to adequately cover greater part of the region.
Karoo covers little part of the Free State, greater part of Northern Cape and Western Cape.